power is to be affected the ability by individuals and groups holding back and thinking other individuals or groups in their sense . This concerns a fundamental social aspect, which in practically all forms of human living togethera role plays. Thus the social behavior of individuals in groups and of groups leads among themselves to the training of social structures, whose members have different influence possibilities. The exercise of power can be made, does not have however not by obligation. Force excesses are in the modern constitutional stateforbidden. The term becomes frequently related in connection with misuse of power and receives thereby also a negative Konnotation. The application of physical force is delegated in the democratic society in the context of the force monopoly to the state, which the socially necessary police functions exercises. Anarchisten for example reject each kind of exercise of power, while powerlessness can lead on the other hand to the incapacity to act (see also faint). In democratic systems power is limited by condition and law.

That someone can win power over itself, to documentWords such as self-control or body control. A special quality has power over the own body in the art of the Indian Yogi.

Table of contents


meant the word power gothical Altslawi in the old high German, and as much as ability, ability, fortune. Comparably comeslatin noun for “power”, potentia, of the verb posse off, which “can do” today with one translates.

Power is often assigned generally linguistic usage to the word field of the term rule. Words such as power apparatus, seizure of power, change of power, ruling power putthis understanding close.

power bases

power bases [after French and Raven (1959)]

The social psychologists French and Raven sketched a pattern of five categories, which the different power bases and/or in a today classical study (1959). Resourcesarrange, on which that or the power owners push away.

  • Legitimate power: One can be affected, if one the opinion is, the affecting is a right to affect decisions or behaviors. Legitimate power e.g. refers. on thosePower of superiors, due to their relative position in a Organsiationsstruktur. Legitimate power is identical to authority and depends on the conviction on individuals to hold from the right of a superior, its position and their acceptance of the place owner.
  • Power by reward: Reward power depends on the ability of the power-exercising to assign rewards. Apart from material or financial rewards can be used also attention, praise and Zuwendnung. Power by reward e.g. refers. on the possibility of superior, the cooperatingAdvantages to provide prosperity or transport or to increase their wages or area of responsibility.
  • Power by obligation: Power by obligation means the use of negative influences. It can refer to the possibility of a Degradierung or a dismissal or to thoseRestraint of rewards. The obedience of the dependent ones is reached by the desire for esteemed rewards or the fear of their Entäusserung.
  • Power by identification:This form of power refers to the ability of the power-exercising, with the reference persons a feelingto cause the solidarity. It affects attitudes opposite itself, the power-exercising and the emotions over its goals and intentions. It is based on the Charisma of the power owner. The affecting persons want to identify themselves with the personal characteristics and qualities of the power ownerand win satisfaction from their acceptance as Mitläufer and successors. This can lead to the fact that with diversities of opinion it is faster given way or that it does not come already at all to discussions.
  • Power by knowledge: Here power results from situation-referred, valuable knowledgethe power-exercising. This power of the experts is based on their abilities or experiences. Differently than the other power bases this is highly specific and to the special range reduced, on which the expert experienced and is qualified.

subjects and institutions

In accordance with definition power is the ability from persons or groups to the influencing control on thinking and acting others. Apart from individual subjects thus also groups can, especially organized groups powerfully to act. This national institutions can be like e.g. Government or military,die als Ordnungs- oder Schutzmacht auftreten. On the other hand institutions also under private law with different influence act, like e.g. Enterprises, in particular large-scale enterprise the substantial economic power exercise or medium companies the effect substantial depending upon range , Reputation and reliability unfold, by itsociety-referred Eriegnissen and situations commentate and interpret.

power functions

power can be exercised on different ways:

  • Power of attorney covers all forms from actions to the change of the social and natural environment; the power of the actual one is changed by it.
  • Decision powerrefers to the selection from existing options or the willentliche development of new objectives.
  • Mobilization power refers to the ability support from other subjects to to mobilize, e.g. of prospective buyers in the goods market or voters in democratic elections.
  • Order power refers thoseUse of things, itself in the property and/or. Possession find
  • definition power describes the potential to one of the umfassensten and at the same time subtlest forms of the influencing control. In accordance with constructionalistic theory beginning social, social and cultural reality production as it in the discourse is negotiated.In the constructionalistic analysis definition power is attributed to the subjects, which affect or dominate these this-italic constructions with their opinions lastingly.

More specific forms of the functional power exercise can be arranged in above categorization. Bsp: Buyers' power can on order power overPrincipal and appropriate decision power in the will formation to be led back.

theories of power

  • max of webers: According to this probably most well-known definition power is „each chance to implement within a social relationship the own will also against Widerstreben much,on which this chance is based. “ (Economics and society) this definition abstracted of the sources of power, refrains thus for instance from a legitimizingness of power completely.
  • John R.P. French Jr.: Its concept calls itself positional power. LoudFrench is to be induced power “the ability of participant A a participant B to an action to do to something which participant A of it required, less the probability that the participant B by participant A wanted the action also withoutthe influence of participant A would have done. “John French succeeded it with this definition to express power in a mathematical formula which again as with max of webers of the source of power abstracted and result-referred can be used. [see. French,J. - A formally Theory OF Social power, Pschol. Rev. 1956, S.181-94]
  • John Mearsheimer: Power is for it purely material nature. It is called also relational power. It depends on resources. As relevant resources are considered: Territory, raw materials,Export, population numbers and financial strength. Most important resources are the military ability, it are the universal power potential. Mearsheimers definition is a political. It shows its realism-afflicted theory perspective clearly.
  • Susan strand: It coined/shaped the term of structural power. ForStrand means it the Machtpotenzial, which structures have such as security , credit capacities , science and production on the participants involved. Participants are powerful „“, if they possess power over these structures. Powerful are participants thus whenever her inthe situation are to be able to adapt structures in such a way that handed and the other competitors /Akteure it to the own advantage must adapt. Thus both structures themselves and all, which can affect them, possess power. Strand model is muchmultilayered and complex. It refers to globalsocial interactions and creates it to unite and build into a make-theoretical concept a multiplicity of sizes of the current economic and political development.
  • Hannah Arendt: It represents an abstract beginning, that“Power” as cooperating humans defines, thus as somewhat potentially short-lived and locatable. In contrast to weber definition power can not be stored after Arendt and can thus conceptually easily -- and in the consequence strictly -- of resources and force to be differentiated. Arendt does not presuppose that humans involved represent common opinions, premises or ideologies (freedom of coalation).
  • Joseph Nye: From it the model of soft power comes (soft power). This concept marksthe ability to affect a participant by certain (usually immaterial) means going by that it develops identical goals and efforts, how the acting participant possesses it. The means to induce the same want another participant to it, what onewants, soft power of ressources is called. They are the source of power. (see. “Whom one does not want to have to the enemy, who one is to make oneself friends”, even if the saying is somewhat modified). Softly power is summarized onePower conception, which adds itself from positional, relational and structural power.
  • Marshal B. Rose mountain speaks in the context of its model of force-free communication (GRP) of two different forms of power: punishing and protective power. Punishing application of powers has humans as a goal, into thatTo reject agreement with moral conceptions, from which they, according to opinion of the power users, took distance. Protective use of power re-establishes the peace according to this model in the conflict and has to the goal that the needs and interests of all involved ones to be considered and protected.
  • Michel Foucault sketches the concept of the strategic-productive power conception. Power relations is a pervasive phenomenon. They develop everywhere, them are various (multiply) and they work.
  • Hans Morgenthau sees power as a central goal of the states in the international relations. In Politics among nation it wrote, each state acts after “a term of interest”, understood in the sense about power. Power is with Morgenthau self purpose and can be acquired, increased and demonstrated.

power-referred studies in single sciences

everafter interest different aspects or phenomena of power are made the the subject of the respective investigation:

  • Psychological papers concentrate on the individual behavior of the persons concerned determined by the aspiration for power or. A special investigation area treats the balance of power or relations in one(usually small) group of group dynamics.
  • Sociological and politologische studies examine the distribution of power, its causes and effects in a total company or in political or economically meaning groups (power elites).
  • Ethnologen e.g. differentiate. after the degree of the differentiation of the balance of power foursocial organization forms: Family federation, trunk, chieftain rule, state.
  • Paedagogues are interested in who instruction style and which methods promise largest success in learning with the pupils.
  • Historians have above all the generation of power and rule as well as the education of power elites in the pastin the view.
  • Literar - and art historians examine among other things the history of the impact of certain writers, musicians or forming artists or however particular of their works.
  • Publicity men would like to finally know, there are which possibilities of the behavior control, related to certain target groups, advertising medium, contents of etc.
  • Out ethical view is the term power ambivalence. It has to a certain extent a positive and a negative charge. To positively evaluate the constructional abilities are negative, the destructive. Somewhat more concretely and following Albert Schweitzers someone proves a thinking and an acting inpositive case by advice and act reverence before the life, in the negative case the opposite. Positive examples are objective and activity of the NGOs of physicians without borders and Greenpeace. Negative examples are the economic, military and political programs and actions,inconsiderately on profit and power out are. The strong ambivalence of power shows up exemplarily with the Triage.
  • Mankind history directs the view of the emergence of the present balance of power. The evolution from the upright course learning Vormen toPresent people ran not straight-lined, but simplified said first from the instinct-steered and clearly socially structured horde/hurdle to the family federation the Urgesellschaft, which was put on on linguistic communication and co-operation.


Wikiquote: Power - quotations
  • „and now is power actually badly, much who exercises it. It is no persisting, but a greed and an EO ipso unfulfillable, unfortunate therefore in itself and must make thus different unfortunate. “ (Jacob Burckhardt, world-historical views, 1905)
  • „The nearly unsolvableTask consists of it, neither from the power of the others to be able to be made stupid still by the own faint. “ (Theodor W. Adorno, minima Moralia, first part, 1944)
  • „Power is not something that one acquires, takes away, divides, whichone retains or loses; power is something that carries out itself from innumerable points from and in the play of unequal and mobile relations. “ (Michel Foucault, Sexualität and truth 1983, S. to 115)

see also


  • Hannah Arendt: Power and force. Piper, Munich 1970, ISBN 3-492-01852-1
  • Karl Dietrich fallow one: Views for the problem of power. West German publishing house, Opladen 1991, ISBN 3-531-07312-5
  • Pierre Bourdieu: Thosehidden mechanisms of power. Writings to politics & culture 1. VSA, Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-87975-605-8
  • Elias Canetti: Mass and power. Claassen, Duesseldorf 1978, ISBN 3-546-41702-X
  • John Kenneth Galbraith: Anatomy of power. Bertelsmann, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-570-03098-9
  • Robert Greene: Power- the 48 laws of power. Hansa, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-446-19759-1
  • Michael Thomas Greven (Hrsg.): Power in the democracy. Mental impetuses for the revival of a classical question in the contemporary political theory. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1991, ISBN 3-7890-2144-X
  • walter Hoffmann: Power in the management.A taboo is logged. With a preface of Jean Francois Bergier. vdf, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-7281-2875-9
  • walter Hoffmann: The drawback of power. In: IO new mamagement Nr.9/2004
  • Vittorio Hösle: Moral and politics. Bases of a political ethics for 21.Century. Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42797-9
  • Peter Imbusch (Hrsg.): Power and rule. Sociological conceptions and theories. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 1998, ISBN 3-8100-1911-9
  • Bertrand de Jouvenel: Over the government authority: the natural history of their growth. Rome brook, Freiburg in mash gau the 1972, ISBN 3-7930-0046-X
  • Stefan bald: Michel Foucaults political analytics. Studies to the relationship of knowledge and power. Kovac, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-8300-1186-5
  • Michael man: History of power. Volume 1: From the beginnings to the Greek antique one. Campus, Frankfurt/Main 1994, ISBN 3-593-35169-2
  • Michael man: History of power. Volume 2: From the Roman realm to the eve of the industrialization. Campus, Frankfurt/Main 1994, ISBN 3-593-35170-6
  • Petra new house: Max webers and Michel Foucault. Over power and rule in the modern trend. Centaurus, Pfaffenweiler 1993, ISBN 3-89085-820-1
  • Rainer Paris: Normal power: sociological essays. UVK, Konstanz 2005, ISBN 3-89669-517-7
  • Helmuth Plessner: Collected writings. Volume 5. Power and human nature. Frankfurt/Main 1981, ISBN 3-518-06529-7
  • Heinrich Popitz: Phenomena of power. Mohr filter-hit a corner, Tübingen 1992, ISBN 3-16-545081-1
  • Gerhard knight: The Dämonie of power. Views over history and nature of the power problem in political thinking of the modern times. Leibniz, Munich 1948, no ISBN
  • briefly Röttgers: Traces of power: Term history and systematics. Talk nonsense, Freiburg in mash gau the 1990, ISBN 3-495-47661-X
  • marshal B.Rose mountain:Force-free communication: A language of the life. Junfermann, Paderborn 2001, ISBN 3-87387-454-7
  • Bertrand Russell: Power. Europe, Habmrug 2001, ISBN 3-203-81530-3
  • Wolfgang Sofsky, Rainer Paris: Figurationen of social power. Authority - representation - coalition. Leske and Budrich, Opladen 1991, ISBN 3-8100-0801-X
  • Briefly Sontheimer: To the term of power as basic category of the political science. In: Dieter upper villages (Hrsg.): Scientific policy. Rome brook, Freiburg in the building of mashes 1962, no ISBN
  • Wolfgang And. Voigts: Hierarchologie or the history of incapacitating. Nora, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-936735-63-8
  • Friedrich Wieser: The law of power. Springer, Vienna 1926, no ISBN
  • George Zenkert: The constitution of power. Mohr filter-hit a corner, Tübingen 2004, ISBN 3-16-148484-3

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